Bible Study

Last night was the first "official" night of small group. Last semester, we studied the book of Galatians.This semester, we are studying James. When I heard that, I was so excited because I love the book of James. I actually had just finished reading through James with Bryce, so it will be good to go more in depth with the girls in my dorm. 

Last night we studied James 1:1-12. In these opening verses, James talks about trials, asking  God, doubting, wisdom, wealth and perseverance. WOW, he covers so much in just 12 verses. 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." -James 1:2-4

The purpose of our trials is two-fold. Trials allow us to develop perseverance and once we develop perseverance, we become mature and complete. Another way to say this is each time we go through a trial God is making us more like him. He is shaping up so that one day we will become like him and we can rejoice because of this. We can consider the hardest of trials joy because we know that Christ is working through us and transforming us to become more like him. 

I have been reading through 1 Peter and there are so many times that trials are brought up. 

"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." -1 Peter 1:6-7

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4:12-13

God allows trials to go on in our lives because he know that ultimately it will bring us closer to him! Our faith has to go through suffering so we can see that it is real. It's hard to believe in something when you have never tested it. But once you have lived through a hardship and see how much you grow and how real God is to you, you see that your faith develops and grows a little bit more.   

I know this. Each time I have gone through something difficult I think to myself, remember last time? You came out just fine, God taught you so much. As much as I hate being in the midst of a trial, in the end I'm grateful for suffering because it forces me to rely on God more. 

Last night was just such an awesome reminder of how much God loves me and doesn't plan things to harm me. He wants the best for me and sometimes the best seems like the worst at the time. I still don't know what I'm doing here. I still feel alone and lost, but I am trusting that God is going to use this for his glory and I am part of an awesome plan He has!